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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Arthritis
      Category : Health Centers > Arthritis


Alternate Names : Joint Inflammation

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Arthritis refers to inflammation of a joint. The inflammation may cause pain, swelling, and stiffness.

What is going on in the body?

The joint inflammation of arthritis can occur for many reasons. Often the lining of the joint, the synovium, becomes inflamed. It reacts by making extra synovial fluid. This causes the joint to become swollen. The smooth white surface of the joint, the hyaline cartilage, can become thin, worn, and rough. Any joint in the body can be affected by some form of arthritis.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

There are many types of arthritis, with a host of different causes, such as:

  • ankylosing spondylitis, which affects the spine and other joints
  • arthritis caused by mechanical problems, such as a bone fracture or dislocation
  • gout, which is caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joint
  • infectious arthritis, which is caused by an infection such as Lyme disease or a gonococcal infection
  • osteoarthritis, a degenerative process that is also called wear-and-tear arthritis
  • pseudogout, which is caused by an accumulation of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in the joint
  • psoriatic arthritis, which develops in some people who have a chronic skin condition known as psoriasis
  • reactive arthritis, which may develop after an infection of the urinary tract, bowel, or other organs
  • rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder in which the body makes antibodies to its own tissues
  • Some of the risk factors for arthritis are as follows:

  • aging changes in the bones and joints
  • bodywide infections that affect the joints
  • diabetes
  • genetic or hereditary tendency to arthritis
  • immunodeficiency disorders, such as HIV
  • injury to the joints
  • menopause, which increases a woman's risk for osteoarthritis
  • overweight or obesity
  • smoking, which doubles a woman's risk for rheumatoid arthritis


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    Arthritis: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: John A.K. Davies, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 08/01/01

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